Some feedback I received got me thinking about the meaning of “better game”. Is it possible to for indies to create better games than big budget games like Halo 3 or Half-life 2.
I’m 100% sure that the answer is solid yes.
Here’s the thing: better is subjective. If you ask random hard core player if they prefer playing Half-life 2 to playing Diner Dash, I’m pretty sure that the answer is Half-life 2. For them, Half-life 2 is better game than Diner Dash. But, if you take average house mom and ask if Half-life 2 is better than Diner Dash – you’ll hear them saying no. They will tell you that they think Diner Dash is better game than Half-life 2. They’ll tell you that it’s much more fun.
And that’s the main idea of creating a “better game” than Halo 3. You don’t try to beat Halo 3 in its own weapons – instead, you come up with something unique. Maybe it’s dancing cows or singing pens that will make your game different, but there gotta be something. Maybe those dancing cows make some people like your game better than Halo 3. And that’s where you want to be.
One game cannot do everything. One game cannot provide everything to everybody. Developers must pick key strengths for their games, and make games for certain (large enough) niches – and make the best game for that audience. When that happens, you’ve created better game than Half-life 2 for some people.